A freedom flotilla ‘Sail 4 Justice’, is sailing up the east coast of Australia and will leave Gimuy/Cairns in June heading for Manus Island.
Last Saturday on their way north, a Disco Boat travelled down the Brunswick River sharing the message of solidarity with the detainees on Manus, Nauru and in offshore detention, Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice as part of Sail 4 Justice.
Sail 4 Justice Organiser Izzy Brown says the group are not undertaking the journey lightly. ‘We have tried everything else imaginable to free these innocent people, and we have no other choice,’ she said. ‘Successive governments have played a game of fear that has already cost countless lives and caused untold trauma.’
The Brunswick Heads event included a boat covered in mirrors, reflecting inhumane policies back on the government. Aboriginal passports were distributed as part of the message of Aboriginal sovereignty.
Arrabunna Elder and Keeper of Lake Eyre, Uncle Kevin Buzzacott said sovereignty of this land has never been ceded, and the Australian Government has no authority to decide which people come here. ‘As an Arrubunna Elder, I welcome the refugees and asylum seekers who are imprisoned by the Australian Government to come and live here in safety and freedom,’ he said.
Sailors and civilians from the length of the continent are joining the flotilla, and numbers will continue to grow as the convoy of cars and boats moves up the coastline.
‘We know that continued inaction in the face of the climate emergency will lead to hundreds of thousands of climate-displaced peoples,’ said Ms Brown. ’As a major contributor to the world’s carbon emissions, it will be Australia’s responsibility to deal with the consequences. If we cannot provide a safe harbour for those already fleeing our wars, how will we treat the next generation of stateless people?’
The flotilla members says they also condemn the continued genocide of First Nations peoples, dangerous inaction in the face of a climate emergency, and Australian support for the Indonesian occupation of West Papua.
As part of the Narrm/Birrarunga (Melbourne) launch, Uncle Kevin presented an engraved kangaroo skin, depicting people of all colours gathered around the sacred fire. This gift will be presented to the local chiefs and men on Manus along with ashes from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, and water from Uncle Kevin’s traditional country surrounding Lake Eyre. Sail 4 Justice will also travel on Original Nations passports, and carry a number of these to present to the men along with the other gifts.
‘The Australian Government has waged war on my mob since colonisation,’ said Kevin Buzzacot. ‘Successive governments have poisoned the land and the rivers, putting wealth and power over freedom and humanity.
‘Their greed and corruption has caused countless deaths and endless trauma, and we say enough is enough!’
Sail 4 Justice plans to launch from Gimuy (Cairns) on World Refugee Day June 20, to complete the journey to Manus Island.